Hey Arnold! (Nickelodeon, 1996-2004)
Hey Arnold! was a cartoon that was originally shown on children’s channel Nickelodeon, but it became a big success in this country when it was shown on CITV in the mid-90s. The show was created by Craig Bartlett who is the brother-in-law of Matt Groening, the man behind The Simpsons, and it centred around the adventures of a nine-year-old boy called Arnold. He had something of an distinctive look, with his unusually-shaped head which meant that people often called him “football head”, and he liked to wear a little blue cap all the time on his mop of blond hair.
Arnold lives with his quirky grandparents, the whereabouts of his parents are not known and they are never seen in the show. His granddad Phil is voiced by Dan Castellaneta who is best known for being the voice of none other than Homer Simpson. Arnold also attends school, and most of the episodes focus on what he gets up to along with his friends, classmates and teachers. Arnold is a rather kind and popular boy and we often see him trying to help everyone out but as he begins to learn it does not always turn out successfully.
Arnold’s best friend is Gerald and they are often seeing playing together at school or in their spare time. One of the other main characters is Helga, who is a rather mouthy girl and something of a tomboy. Arnold doesn’t seem to like her very much but and Helga is often rather rude to him, but the secret is that she has a rather big crush on him and some episodes are based around whether she should reveal that to Arnold or not.
The are lots of other memorable characters in the show, including Harold, who looked like he only had one tooth, the rather tall Stinky, and the accident-prone Eugene. There is one episode that I remember where Eugene has a new bike which impresses everyone, only for him to have a crash and break it. Arnold then very kindly repairs it for Eugene, only for him to have another crash.
Hey Arnold! was a show that I remember watching on CITV regularly, it featured a lot of great moments and it ran for 100 episodes. It is a real surprise to realise that Arnold made his debut on the screen 20 years ago. Although the show has long since ended, it still has a lot of fans and it remains popular in repeat runs, although it hasn’t been released on DVD in this country, I would definitely buy it if it was. It seems that the story isn’t over for Arnold yet though as there is a revival planned for next year with a special film version.